When I was a student at Virginia Tech, I attended a presentation delivered by the late Dr. Dwight Conquergood abut an obscure Asian ethnic group known as the Hmong. What I remember about his lecture is how little awareness most of us have about displaced ethnic groups. Now on display through Jan 13, 2013 at the Littleton Museum is a display about the Mapuche, another displaced ethnic group from South America.
Unaware of their existence prior to my visit to the Littleton Museum, I was delighted to see this display. The Mapuche once lived in an area of south central Chile and southwest Argentina. The display, on loan from David S. Irving of Denver, CO, includes examples of silversmithing, weaving, and beading made by Mapuche craftspeople. Other artifacts include items for equestrian uses, household utensils, and weapons. The informative placards not only describe the artifacts purpose and how they were made, but they also educate you on the history of the Mapuche people.
It is well worth the visit to see the Mapuche exhibit only, but there is considerably more to take in at this museum. The main exhibit area contains artifacts and displays all relevant to the history of Littleton. While only a fraction of the museum’s 40,000 artifacts are on display, there is more than enough here to teach you about the history of Littleton. Start your tour with the 15-minute film about the museum and the history of Littleton.
The museum has on its 14-acre complex a living history museum depicting 1860’s and 1890’s farms. Interpreters wearing period costumes interact with visitors in order to give visitors a glimpse into what 19th century life was like for someone living in Littleton at that time.
In one of the barns, I noticed some sort of vintage boat. It has a flat bottom and an antique car hood covering the engine. The flat bottom appears to be useful in the local canals that once were and still are big part of delivering water to the farmers and people throughout the area. There is no information sign, so I can only guess at the boat’s purpose. I noticed this throughout the museum. There is a large machine that appears to be a printing press and numerous tools that have no descriptions or captions, but are presented as if they have a relation to the local history of Littleton. I am sure that they do, but I think visitors would find it helpful to read descriptions of these items.
Allow about two hours for you visit. There is much to see and learn here. And check the museum’s website often for the rotating exhibits as well as events that the museum has on a regular basis.